Fish River's savanna burning project was the first Indigenous project to earn carbon credits under the Carbon Farming Initiative. The project follows the purchase of the NT property to protect Indigenous cultural values and the environment, while providing Indigenous people jobs in environmental management.
The environmental and cultural values of Fish River are protected under a landmark acquisition collaboration between the ILSC, conservation not-for-profit groups and the Australian Government.
Fish River is a 180,000ha former pastoral property on the banks of the Daly River, 200km south of Darwin.

The $13m property was purchased through a ground-breaking collaboration with $8.6m in funding from the Federal Government's Caring for Our Country program, $1.4m from the ILSC and $3m from conservation non-profit groups, The Nature Conservancy and the Pew Environment Group.

Fish River has been included in the National Reserve System, a program that protects native plants and animals for future generations.

The new reserve more than triples the protected habitat in one of Australia's most under-conserved areas, the Daly Basin bioregion.

The ILSC owns and is managing the property and works closely with the Northern Land Council and Traditional Owners who have extensive knowledge of the country and its plants and animals.

Initial work focused on upgrading access roads, fencing and signage on the property along with a program using an Indigenous contractor to remove feral buffalo from the property.


The savanna burning project on Fish River was the first to be approved by the Clean Energy Regulator under the Carbon Farming Initiative and will continue to generate approximately 13,000 carbon credits annually under the Emissions Reduction Fund.

The savanna burning method applied reduces total greenhouse gas emissions from the property, benefiting the environment and potentially earning an income stream from carbon credits for Traditional Owners.

By using methods that draw on Indigenous pattern burning and science, the area of land that had been historically burnt each year by late dry season wildfires has been reduced from 27% to less than 4% of the property.  The total area that has burnt each year since the introduction of the project has reduced by over 25%.
 
The first Indigenous-generated, Kyoto compliant Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) sold on the open carbon market were generated on Fish River.

In an Australian first, the ILSC sold the first tranche of 25,884 ACCUs to Caltex Australia at a price which acknowledged the unique social, cultural and environmental benefits achieved by the project.

The ILSC and its project partners are keen for Fish River to continue to be a valuable demonstration project and share learning with other Indigenous landholders.

The ILSC collaborates with Indigenous land owners, governments and industry to pursue opportunities in the emerging carbon market.